Growing Alaskan glaciers the start of new Little Ice Age?

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Growing Alaskan glaciers the
start of new Little Ice Age?

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14 Oct 08 – “Never before in the history of a research project dating back to 1946 had the Juneau Icefield witnessed the kind of snow buildup that came this year. It was similar on a lot of other glaciers too.

"In mid-June, I was surprised to see snow still at sea level in Prince William Sound," said USGS glaciologist Bruce Molnia. "On the Juneau Icefield, there was still 20 feet of new snow on the surface of the Taku Glacier in late July. At Bering Glacier, a landslide I am studying, located at about 1,500 feet elevation, did not become snow free until early August.

The glaciers actually had positive mass balance, Molnia said, they’re growing thicker.

“One cool summer that leaves 20 feet of new snow still sitting atop glaciers come the start of the next winter is no big deal, Molnia said.

“Ten summers like that?

“Well, that might mark the start of something like the Little Ice Age.

“The difference in temperature between the Little Ice Age and these heady days of American expansion?

“About three or four degrees, Molnia said.

“The difference in temperature between this summer in Anchorage -- the third coldest on record -- and the norm?

“About three degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

“As strange it might seem, Alaska's glaciers could appear to be shrinking for some time while secretly growing. Molnia said there are a few glaciers in the state now where constant snow accumulations at higher elevations are causing them to thicken even as their lower reaches follow the pattern of retreat fueled by the global warming of recent decades.

“Molnia has just completed a major study of Alaska glaciers using satellite images and aerial photographs to catalog shrinkage. The 550-page "Glaciers of Alaska" will provide a benchmark for tracking what happens to the state's glaciers in the future.”

See all of this great article:
http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/story/555283.html
Thanks to Rhys Jagger, Erik Bernardson and Marc Morano for this link

 

 



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